Self-publicity time. Shouts to Nike and Not Actual Size for letting me write this Nike Free A-Z. Nice to get to work on a project that’s based on contemporary runners and technologies, plus it takes me back to reading the old Crooked Tongues Tobie Hatfield feature from 2004 and thinking that I’d quite like to write something along those lines one day. The downside? Because it’s 2013, it’s one of those new-fangled digital book simulations. My mum won’t believe that kind of thing constitutes real work because it’s “the internet.” Only tangible, tactile evidence that I do anything will ever suffice. Anyway, go flick through that as proof that not everything I write is full of cowardly subliminal shots and poorly punctuated anger. Apparently there was a launch for the campaign the other day and Steve Cram was there — somebody should have made him some black and yellow Cram Windrunners with a Free sole specially for his appearance. I now know more about the science of shoe technologies than I did in January of this year. It’s nice to work on projects relating to products I can safely say I mess with without sounding like a corporate stooge. Maybe a childhood spent memorising old Nike ads — while other kids were actually doing sports that the shoes were intended for — wasn’t entirely squandered.
As an antidote to the nausea of self-promotion, Criterion‘s YouTube channel has been uploading some nice videos for the 40th anniversary DVD and Blu-ray release of Badlands, including the first four minutes of the movie, just to remind you how flawless that use of a narration is. Martin Sheen’s Kit is the coolest serial killer in film history and Malick’s direction and Tak Fujimoto’s cinematography are a perfect partnership. This disturbing and poetic true-crime (though the names were changed) classic proves that you don’t need gimmicks to make a movie with style. And because this is a period piece, Badlands never dates – plus it inspired Bruuuuuce to record Nebraska. I’ll always be in debt to Alex Cox for putting me onto this film as a double bill with 1951’s The Prowler (James Ellroy’s favorite film) on BBC2’s Moviedrome – a meanness in this world portrayed with unsurpassed elegance. I can watch this time and time again – the rumoured 6-hour cut of Tree of Life? I’ll pass, thanks.
Stüssy are putting out a twice-yearly publication called Stüssy Biannual. Given their sheer volume of projects, global tribe connects and emphasis on photography, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. For years I hoarded infrequent Stüssy mook releases from Japan, but an English language equivalent would be very welcome. Dropping on Friday, Stüssy Biannual #1 features contributions from Kenneth Cappello, Shaniqwa Jarvis and plenty of other talented people. Now, how about a hardcover Stüssy book, covering the brand’s history?
I wanted to see a Mo’ Wax book of some kind too, but seeing as I’m still waiting for the MWA Glen E. Friedman poster to drop, I gave up hope of anything like that happening. But Urban Archaeology is an impending book and exhibition to celebrate Mo’ Wax’s 21st anniversary that’s going to be Kickstarter funded. My interest in this project outweighs the grim realisation of how many years have passed since 1992. There’s a new site too — www.mowax21.com. They should put a bulletin board on there and weird animated launch page with Major Force West on repeat to resurrect the Beggars Group online era for the label.
It’s CT party time tomorrow, so this blog got updated early. At my usual Sunday blogging time, hopefully there’ll be some puke stained streets in east London and I’m anticipating the usual wave of negative tweet feedback over the 6pm queues. It’s over ten years since the first Crooked event (for the launch of ‘Cavemilk’) at the Great Eastern Hotel in January 2001 that was pleasantly decadent, debauched and an introduction to freeloading for me. There’s some stuff that the Nike/CT crew’s cooked up this time that should generate some positive hype.
Today I’ve been preoccupied with Dr. Martens, Hermès, Japanese mooks and horror films. Before you go any further, read this piece on Hermès and the rumours of LVMH interest, complete with CEO Patrick Thomas’s shots at LVMH as he tells the Wall Street Journal they’re not compatible because, “Hermès is a human experience.” Between that and Rei Kawakubo‘s, “I don’t feel too excited about fashion today. People just want cheap fast clothes and are happy to look like everyone else” quote, WSJ was heavy on the fashion soundbites last Thursday.
Nobody told me about this Dr. Martens video from last year (late pass please). Usually I avoid brand-sanctioned videos because they seem to play out like marketing duties rather than offering much insight — the process of brand managing out the interesting stuff rarely helps either. I was surprised at how this one didn’t shy from naughty words or the far right associations that the boots amassed, and through that honesty it elevated my appreciation of the brand. Impending projects from the brand sound interesting, but if you want some extra sub-cultural Dr. Martens material, I recommend FRANK151’s DMS issue from 2008 (available through their site as a PDF) and this phenomenal blog post on the relationship between Dr. Martens and skateboarding.
Linking tenuously to that ’92 ‘Thrasher’ shot of Matt, I’ve been pondering old skate publications and this 1997 ‘Big Brother’ interview with Fabian Alomar is one of the gnarliest things I’ve read. Fabian went to prison for eight years a few years later and got out in 2010. This Crailtap interview from a couple of months back is an anecdotal goldmine that also includes an amazing Gonz impression.
If you’re a horror film fan (you might have guessed that I’m quite keen on the genre), you owe it to yourself to invest in Kim Newman’s ‘Nightmare Movies’ — the greatest tome on a single cinematic genre ever written (though ‘Destroy All Movies’ is still astonishing). Operating as a series of flawlessly written essays on the many facets of the celluloid scare and as a film guide via the index and the time Newman takes to dissect a film, it’s the best source of recommendations too.
While Kim bloodily impales some perfectly good b-movies in the process, he’s taken the time out to write post chapter notes that expand on each subject and incorporate a second half of the book made of entirely fresh material called ‘New Nightmares’ that clocks in at just under 300 pages, just in case anyone was looking to conquer Newman’s crown as the subject’s true guru. It’s the volume of video shop cheapies that Kim lists that really piqued my interest in the topic all those years ago, and I still spot gems in there that even the most ardent z-grade flick torrent-heads haven’t uploaded. Even the geek’s paradise that the internet offers can’t match the content here.
Now that cereals throw freebies in the bag as incentives because they’re a choking hazard, it’s down to those Japanese magazine book catalogues (mooks) to offer the giveaways that matter. Umbrellas, Moschino bags, wallets and some awesome crap accompany these publications, but have to concede, that despite suffering tote-irritation, I like the A.P.C. camo bag that accompanies their effort (with the ladies in mind rather than the men). I wonder if it’ll end up in a rap video like the Supreme towel from book #5 did in that ASAP Rocky video that led to free towel beef between him and Left Brain. This blog lists a lot of these mooks and their giveaways and even has a poll: “Do you think unauthorize ripping open of Japanese Mooks or Magazines should be tolerated” (93% said no) — serious business.
What’s the point of getting up in the morning? You could get thrown over the dashboard of a speeding car on the way to grab provisions, go into a coma for the rest of the year and not miss a damned thing. That’s pretty frightening. It’s also a grand overstatement —there’s lots to look forward over the next year. Put down those pills and close that tab that’s open on alt.sucide.methods. Get involved with these things…
MIKE TYSON & THE ANIMALS
Iron Mike’s autobiography might be MIA at the moment, but Tyson’s sounding mighty healthy on both Twitter and in the real world. He’s looking a little leaner and he’s got an Animal Planet show; ‘Taking On Tyson’ which seems to be a pigeon racing reality show, with Tyson traveling the world (including Scotland) to discuss his feathered friends. If that doesn’t appeal to you, we’re not on the same wavelength. Kudos to whoever pitched it in to the network too…it probably wasn’t an easy sell. This show debuts on TV Stateside in March.
BIG BROTHER’S BACK
While the Dave Carney ‘Boob’ book is still inexplicably hard-to-obtain, there’s a whole documentary on Big Brother magazine in the making. ‘The Big Brother Memoir: A Stupid Skateboard Magazine’ may well be an extension of the footage posted on the Jackass site a few years back and it’ll probably disappear into the 24 month limbo that skate-related documentaries have a habit of slipping into but it’ll be worth the wait. There’s a lot of magazines dropping these days, but which ones have any personality? Big Brother in its heyday was absolutely untouchable and an arguable influence on the next wave of pretty much everything for those who experienced it. You already knew about these PDFs, didn’t you?
THE SOUND OF araabMUZIK
The current wave of rap-related viral videos seems to be built on addressing rumours and interview arguments. Boring. araabMUZIK videos are hypnotic. The MVP of the MPC is the most interesting to watch at work, and while he isn’t the first to make similar sounds (he sounds like the hyperactive child of Mannie, Justin and prime Heatmakerz), Lex Luger seemed to be…ummm…”inspired” by his work when he gave Jay and ‘Ye a track over which they inexplicably opted to rap like they’d had a Lemsip overdose instead of the requisite H.A.M. levels (at least it caused Busta to drop his annoying date rape flow for 2-minutes). araabMUZIK’s thrash metal team up was the least excruciating hip-hop and metal union since Faith No More & Boo-Yaa back in 1993, another recent video sees him tearing through live beat making with a nifty black-on-black Dipset piece around his neck—at 08:37 he unleashes the kind of drama music that’ll make you want to strike a stranger. What exactly is in that cup?
ANOTHER DEF JAM BOOK
Stacy Gueraseva’s book on Def Jam five years ago was a must-buy, and on a glossier and officially licensed level, the Rizzoli ’25 Years of Def Jam’ effort should be great too. Reuniting Dan Charnas (writer of the essential ‘The Big Payback’ ) with old mentor Bill Adler, there’s no cover or in-depth information as of yet regarding cover art or content other than its hardback status and September release date. Will it have a whole chapter on Jayo Felony? Highly doubtful.
LARRY CLARK IN LONDON AGAIN
Larry Clark’s ‘What do you do for fun?’ exhibition opens at the Simon Lee Gallery on February 10th. It should make up for missing the ‘Kiss the Past Hello’ show in Paris last year, and from a preview on the Simon Lee site, it’s significantly more wide-ranging than the ‘Los Angeles 2003-2006’ offerings at the same space in early 2008. It’s unknown as to whether the newly unearthed silent ‘Tulsa’ 16mm film will accompany it (supposedly, the movie was recently limited to a run of 5 DVD copies).
Vasque never really went anywhere, but for the fans, there’s two versions of this boot—the current old man hikers and weird trainer hybrids and the ones you used to eye up in the Source. The preoccupation with hiking gear is unlikely to go anytime soon so we might as well have the best and I suspect my homie Mr. Ronnie Fieg—a Vasque boot superfan and the David Z frontman for special projects—will do something with the Sundowner or Super Hiker, even if they’re not Italian made any more like they were in the early ’90s. The brand’s attempt to break the UK market a few years back via some brash lad-mag ads remains an odd move.
PORT LOOKS INTERESTING
Big name magazine launches can be sheer wankery, but ‘PORT’ looks promising. Editor Dan Crowe’s Zembla literary magazine was a superb effort, and while Port’s emphasis seems to be style, there’s plenty of substance promised for its March launch. My days of reading magazines cover-to-cover seem to be numbered, but hopefully this one might restore my papery OCD. I just want to pick up something authoritative. It has a poetry editor and Daniel Day-Lewis writing an essay on Gaza. That’s enough to confer investigation, and it launches at a point when iPad compatibility is more than a rushed afterthought too.
This picture from the new Palace line is straight swaggerjacked from the Hideout’s site. I remember happy days of local skate shops stocking a rail bought seemingly at random from New Deal or Shiner, and simply buying the most eyecatching tee, complete with a barely concealed Hanes (or far, far worse in the thickness stakes). This New York Giants style effort is some no-nonsense branding that harks back to happy days of Holmes and many that went before.
Yes, that really was the name of the chimp taught a form of sign language decades ago, who apparently unleashed the 16-word sentence through these gestures, “Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you.” Mired in debate, it served to reinforce our relationship with our simian neighbours. ‘Project Nim,’ directed by James Marsh (the man behind ‘Man on Wire’ —a documentary that left me cold), tells the story of the monkey raised as a human, and the byproduct of the experiment. As a chimp superfan, I can’t wait to see it. After showing at Sundance days ago, HBO swiftly picked it up.
TAKAHIRO MIYASHITA CAN’T LOSE
Just when outdoorsy screwfaces prove they’re here to stay temporarily, former Number (N)ine kingpin Takahiro Miyashita’s The Soloist project keeps on innovating in a weird way and the S/S 2011 collection is somewhere between woodland hipster buffoon, Victorian tinker, Hoth reconnaissance, the twins from ‘Rad’ and something far more innovative. Accompanying gear with New Balances, teaming with Oliver Peoples and using some very luxurious fabrics is a winner—as is Takahiro’s leisurely pace. While everyone else has let the cat out the bag for the whole year. Who knows what he’s got planned for the colder months?
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS STORIES
Avant-garde film director, writer, musician and artist Jonas Mekas is 87 years old and he’s still got more ideas and vanguard spirit than you. Don’t feel bad. He’s a genius. ‘Walden’ is a sprawling, brilliant headache of a film and he’s back after six years with an 8MM film experiment and ‘Sleepless Nights Stories’ which seems to have Björk and Harmony Korine involved too. That’s as much as we know.
Adam Kimmel’s been peddling terrifyingly expensive workwear that’s actually very wearable, plus something significantly sharper for a while now, so his alliance with Carhartt sounded pretty natural. A.P.C. and SOPHNET have done big things with the brand (though in the case of the latest SOPH, I’m not looking to dress like a train driver from the 1920s), but from shots on the Hideout’s blog, it looks significantly more cohesive and wearable as a total look. There’s pocket tees, three cashmere versions of the watch cap, but the jacket in the picture here is the one for me. It’ll terrorise your credit card when it drops, but if you slept on the Junya jacket early last year this might cheer you up. Initial reports indicate that the line is non-smedium.
MORE BOILER ROOM
Boiler Room is awesome on a number of levels. As I drop out the loop, FACT magazine and Boiler Room’s transmissions are something of a lifeline. USTREAM is often misused. For every transmitted sexual act, live suicide or other watchably grand gesture, there’s a drivel tsunami on the broadcast front. Team Boiler Room keep the strong lineups coming every Tuesday at 8…you too can experience Dalston as you imagine it to be, without having to deal with the everyday reality and twattery of the area. The SWAMP 81 label gets a showcase on Tuesday and I’ve been told there’s some serious guests booked for the rest of the year too.